A triumph of an album from an artist who continues to go from strength to strength.

Lateralize Records LR020CD

Jo Harrop (Vocals); Anthony Wilson (Guitar); Jim Cox (Rhodes piano, Hammond B-3 Organ); David Piltch (Bass); Larry Klein (Bass); Victor Indrizzo (Drums)

Recorded September 2023

With her fourth release for Lateralize Records, Jo Harrop’s rise and rise continues, and quite justly so too. Over the course of the last five years the vocalist has released a series of fine albums that all of which are very different, yet all have the same star quality in Harrop’s smouldering vocals that caresses the chosen songs.

What is perhaps even more impressive is the manner in which the singer/songwriter has continued to develop as an artist with each new release being more assured and bringing forth a new found confidence in her own abilities.

And what a journey it has been from singing standards on Songs For the late Hours (2019) to forming strong musical partnerships with guitarist Jamie McCredie that yielded the wonderful Weathering the Storm and with pianist and arranger Paul Edis on When Winter Turns to Spring. Both albums witnessed Harrop’s growing stature as a songwriter of note, and indeed she had also given notice of this side of her musical gifts on her second album for the imprint The Heart Wants.

The new album sees the singer broaden her horizons still further and after having the opportunity to perform in the United States found herself in the recording studio with the some of the finest musicians in Los Angeles and working with legendary producer Larry Klein.

It is all credit to the vocalist that she is not fazed by the company she finds herself in, but simply rises to the challenge. The Path of a Tear brings out the soulful side of Jo Harrop in a blend of covers and original songs that is captivating. Jo has the innate ability to draw the listener, and as soon as she starts to sing her voice immediately has your attention. There is an intimacy in everything that she sings that makes the lyrics sound very personal, and her voice has a softness and relaxed feeling that ensures that you feel in safe hands.

Of the covers Leonard Cohen’s ‘Travelin’ Light’ is given a fresh reading, and ‘If It Wasn’t For Bad’ by Leon Russell is conveyed with conviction. Steve Earle’s ‘Goodbye’ is simply and sublimely delivered by Harrop in a particularly affecting performance, but it is the original compositions that really highlight Jo’s gifts.

From the opening ‘Beautiful Fools’ you are drawn into Harrop’s world of gently sung melodies with lyrics that tell a story that most will lean forward to catch every last word and carefully articulated syllable. The songwriting partnership with Paul Edis brings forth the poignant ‘Too Close To The Sun’ and ‘You’ll Never Be Lonely In Soho’, while the collaboration with Geoff Gascoyne delivers the heart wrenching ‘Hurt’.

Throughout Jo Harrop presents a set of songs, that while they inherently have a sadness and rawness in the lyrics, are delivered in her now unmistakable and unique voice that always impart a glimmer of optimism and warmth.  A triumph of an album from an artist who continues to go from strength to strength.